Meal Plan Monday: A Short Week

Meal Plan Monday

Good morning, Meal Plan Monday friends!  Okay, so it’s evening, and I’m a bit late in posting.  The good news:  this is a short week, meal plan-wise.  On Friday, my parents, Muffin, and I are heading to my sister’s for birthday celebrations.  (Josh has to work.)

But, here’s how things are going to shape up:

Saturday:  hot dogs at the campfire

Sunday:  pizza

Monday:  grilled chicken (recipe below), grilled can corn in a pouch (Josh is a genius!), grilled buttered hamburger buns, and veg and dip

Tuesday:  Josh choice (spaghetti?)

Wednesday:  baked potato bar

Thursday:  leftovers of some kind, if you please (or snacky)

Friday:  on the road (Josh fends for himself)

Saturday:  at Deb’s (Josh fends for himself)

Sunday:  something easy for Muffin and me (Josh works late)

So…that’s it for this week.  Next week, the name of the game is convenience as we enter Homecoming week (and no time to prep this weekend).

Tonight’s chicken recipe was kinda awesome!  I found it on Pinterest and adapted it from a recipe for chicken wings.  It’s on this blog.  I thought the chicken sauce would make a great grill glaze; I simply upped the amount of olive oil by a quarter cup or so.

Grilled Brown Sugar Chicken Breasts

Adapted from the blog linked above

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

3 large chicken breasts

Whisk together all but the final ingredient.  Grill over high heat or hot coals on both sides until grill marks appear.  After turning the chicken once, baste the chicken with the sauce.  Continue basting after each turn so that each side is basted at least two times.  The chicken is done to perfection when it resembles the breast above and has clear juices.

I think this would also be fab-oooo sliced thinly on the bias and served as the main protein in a spring mix salad.  With some of the grilled corn kernels.


What are you planning for this week?

Sunday Supper: Oven Fried Chicken With the Fixins

On last Monday’s Meal Plan Monday, I had planned on cooking two recipes from two Junior League of Lafayette cookbooks (Talk About Good and Tell Me More):  Oven Fried Chicken and Corn Pone Pie.  Um.  This was one of those weeks where my weekend cooking didn’t happen.  So that meant that my cooking plans went completely awry.  Neither got made last weekend.  Prep work for the remaining meals was kaput.  A lot of eating off of the meal plan happened…which means eating out.  The good news is…that made planning this week that much easier.

Back on went both dishes…the chicken for today and the Corn Pone Pie for Monday.  And I managed to prep the chili for the corn pone pie…not quite as good as my chili attempts…but not bad.  Tomorrow all I’ll have to do is dump the chili mixture in the pan, mix up the corn bread mix, pour it over, and bake for a bit at 375.

Easy peasy cheesy.  Might add cheese to the mix to make it that much better.  See?  That’s how things go south on me following recipes.  I over think the recipes.

Once upon a time my mom would make oven fried chicken fairly often.  It’s one of the smells that is still locked tight in my olfactory bank as the epitome of comfort food.  She always cooked it in her convection oven that was roughly the same size as a large microwave.  She would cook it in shortening and turn it patiently throughout cooking.  It was delicious.

The recipe in Talk About Good used butter as the fat medium…and far less than Mom’s shortening method…only 1 stick (1/2 cup).  I wasn’t sure that would be enough, so I had Josh coat the foil-lined pan with shortening.  (A backyard hole managed to snag my foot yesterday making today’s weekly meal prep problematic.  And painful.)  Other than that, I followed the recipe (although I think next time I might use plain breadcrumbs and season them myself).

Here were the photogenic results (served with Loaded Scalloped–boxed–Potatoes, greens, and a dollop of red pepper jelly in lieu of cranberry sauce or ligonberry preserves from IKEA):

IMG_0050[1] IMG_0051[1]

Now, the chicken was Muffin Approved.  But oddly enough, his favorite part was the “leaves off of the trees” (greens) because they were his favorite color, green.  That was the only thing he ate a second helping of.


And yes…I did drink my swee’tea out of a champagne flute.  It should be the serving vessel of choice for all Southern princesses.  And, yes, for those of you who have read the blog since the beginning, Josh made the tea.

I’ve decided, also, that pepper jelly is a perfectly acceptable substitute for cranberry sauce or ligonberry preserves.  Of course, I believe pepper jelly is a great cure all for all ills.  I recently found a jar of it for less than $2 at Walmart (as I was in a desperate search to cover some nekkid cream cheese to spread on a cracker for a baby shower).  We may have devoured a second log of pepper jelly-coated cream cheese with crackers yesterday.  Just possibly.  Luckily there was just enough to eat with supper tonight.

P.S.:  Pepper jelly goes great with greens and oven fried chicken…jus’ sayin’.


Here’s what I did…with the chicken…

Oven Fried Chicken

Source:  Talk About Good, The Junior League of Lafayette, Louisiana

page 225…if you were wondering (And yes…Like most Junior League cookbooks…this one is worth the buy)

chicken pieces (I used 4 meaty thighs and 4 meaty drumsticks)

2 eggs, well beaten with 2 tablespoons of water

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I went fancy and used the good stuff…shredded…from Sam’s)

2 cups Italian style bread crumbs

1 stick butter, melted

salt, pepper, onion salt and garlic powder to taste

Pat chicken dry.  Mix dry ingredients.  Dip chicken into egg-water mixture and press all “sides” of the chicken in crumbs until well coated.  Re-roll in crumbs as necessary.  Place in foil-lined jelly roll pan (or something with a higher lip…trust me) which has been lightly greased with shortening.  Spoon butter carefully over the tops of the chicken pieces (the butter will slide off if you just drizzle it on…think more of a “floating” maneuver with alcoholic drinks).  Bake at 325 for one hour.

Now…as we did all dark meat…it was still incredibly juicy.  I would think it would still be so with white meat, but I cannot guarantee it.

As a side note…I am presently enjoying iced tea cooled with lemon sorbet.  Great fun.  I didn’t take a picky, but it’s really good.  And a refreshing treat to blog to.

As I said, this meal was Muffin Approved, especially the greens.

Muffin Approved

What was your Sunday Supper this week?

Thoughtful Thursday: Me, the Shy One

Thoughtful Thursday

Growing up, I was painfully shy.  Shoulders hunched, head down, jacket zipped up to my chin every day of 7th grade (including those days when it was a sweltering Louisiana day).  Shy.

If I had to step out of my comfort zone, I had panic attacks.  Selling yearbook ads?  The end of the world.  Making a presentation in front of my class?  I spent a lot of time looking at my shoes.  Realizing as I compared my shoes to my classmates’ that I did not inherit the shoe gene.  (*Shoe gene:  The strip of genetic coding in feminine persons’ DNA that leads to an obsession with shoes a la Carrie in Sex and the City)  Yeah…not so much.  I know Manolo Blahnik is a designer? of shoes…sort of…but I couldn’t pick out any from a lineup.

Anyway…to resurface out of that rabbit hole…I was not made to be in front of a crowd.

I attended no dances in high school because 1) I was a chosen-last-for-gym-class-after-the-dust-particles klutz and 2) I was afraid of people looking at me.  Until I went to the state FBLA conference my senior year and was forced (pretty much kicking and screaming…or at least as much kicking and screaming as a person who hates being looked at would do in front of her classmates) to go to the dance at the conference.  And realized…if you put me in a group of people dancing by themselves, some crazed part of my brain (probably in the frontal lobe somewhere) turns into a dancing maniac.

(Waits for various family members to peel their lower jaws off of the floor)

And then…came college.  Where I met my two best friends in the whole world.  One of whom liked to stage manage the university’s plays.  And there was a version of Electra that needed casting.  With bit parts.  During a semester when I was already taking 18 hours (including speech, which I dreaded…see above).  The speech teacher was the director of Electra.  And my best friend managed to talk our other best friend and me into trying out for two of the bit parts (servants).

They say college is a time in your life when you learn who you are.  And when I stood on that stage at practice (and performance), the part of my brain that was crazed and seemed to like dancing maniacally decided to peep out again.  I found out that I am a ham.  A hear-me-in-the-back-of-the-auditorium-without-a-microphone ham.

When…just two-and-a-half years later, I induced more jaw dropping from family members and friends with my decision to become a teacher and–yes–stand in front of a part-time audience daily…I should have known there was no turning back.

A few years ago…I discovered a new love:  the microphone…which seems to induce a “let’s get ready to rumble”/DJ lilt to my voice.  We recently had a changing of the guard at our school.  Our assistant principal became our principal (but she knew what happened when you put a microphone in my hand).  Our new “high school” assistant principal had…no…idea.

And then…Open House happened.  And I had a microphone in my hand.  And the grandstanding voice came out, leaving people who didn’t know about that predilection of mine doing the furrowed brow head cock.

The microphone, to me, is like alcohol to Raj Koothrappali on Big Bang Theory:  it takes away most fears and inhibitions…leaving that crazy part of my brain dancing in the aisles (metaphorically, thankfully).

Needless to say, the new assistant principal mentioned how shocked she was by the me with a microphone as an accessory.  And this is before seeing me at the honor roll assembly or the middle school dance.

Hopefully someone warns her before then.

Am I the only one who did not inherit the “shoe gene”?  What do you do as a confidence booster?

Meal Plan Monday: Trying out Old Cookbooks

Meal Plan Monday

While both of my previous challenges focused on trying new recipes from online sources, I figured it was time to dust off some culinary jewels off of my kitchen bookshelf.  Am I the only one with a kitchen bookshelf?  Really, it is most convenient to have your cookbooks in the kitchen.  For inspiration, if nothing else.

This week, I am focusing on two such diamonds in my collection, products of the Junior League of Lafayette, Louisiana.  The first is called Talk About Good, from which I have obtained the Oven Fried Chicken recipe.  Its sequel is called Tell Me More; it includes an intriguing receipt for corn pone pie (basically a homemade chili topped with a cornbread crust).

Yesterday, we enjoyed a semi-homemade treat:  shrimp sundried tomato fettuccine Alfredo.  I used already-made Alfredo sauce, but I steeped a handful of minced sundried tomatoes in the creamy goo.  I used precooked frozen shrimp and sizzled them in a bit of the olive oil from the sundried tomatoes, then tossed the pasta and shrimp in the sauce.  I served it with a side of dip-able veggies obtained from the reduced produce section of Kroger.

Here’s the meal plan for the week:

Sunday:  Shrimp with fettuccine and sundried tomato, veggies

Monday:  Corn Pone Pie (from Tell Me More)

Tuesday:  spaghetti (Josh cooks)

Wednesday:  leftovers or hot dogs or pulled pork sandwiches

Thursday:  breakfast for supper

Friday:  pizza of some type

Saturday:  grilled something or fish and fries

Sunday:  Oven fried chicken (from Talk About Good), turnip greens, rice and gravy

My goal is to link up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday, but that depends on how busy tomorrow is.

What’s your plan this week, Stan?


Cent-Saving Saturday: The Week’s Deals and Why Sam’s Is the Cheapest Fast Food for Lunch/Dinner

Cent Saving Saturday

Now that Sam’s Club is the closest “grocery” store to our house, I foresee many successful bulk shopping trips.  In talking to my coworkers over the past few weeks about the new Sam’s, everyone falls into two decided camps:  a love of all things bulk and a few noted ones who won’t shop at Sam’s because their families would consume/use up all the purchases more quickly.

Except for a complete decimation of a bag of Hershey’s mini candies, we are usually very good at parceling out our purchases.  Except when I attack the olives (which we forgot to get again last night, darn) or pickles.

We buy the big container of Sam’s brand Jelly Belly-style jelly beans and divide them into single-serving baggies.  We do the same thing with other snacks.

But our absolute favorite (if you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s FMF post), is to eat at the Sam’s cafe area.  A huge (very filling) hot dog with all of the toppings and drink that’s refillable as you travel throughout the store for $1.70.  A huge slice of pizza equal to two-three regular size slices and a drink for not much more.  Pretzels for a fraction of the Auntie Anne’s price.  Soft-serve in a chocolate flavor that makes me willing to risk dairy discomfort at a price that puts TCBY or Baskin Robbins (much less Orange Leaf or Cold Stone) to shame.

Right now (and I hope this remains true), their milk is cheaper than most stores can offer even on sale (including it’s slightly evil counterpart Walmart who insists on milk at over $4 a gallon).  Of course, we’ve had to go fridge diving for the 2%, but that’s just part of the fun.  We’ve also found it easier to procure orange juice there.  And a quart of half-and-half is the same price I paid for a pint at Target.

But enough of that.  Here’s what’s up with the deals this week (Kroger and Albertson’s):


pork loin half $1.88/pound

plums 98 cents/pound

raspberries, 6 ounce package 97 cents

p$$t granulated sugar, 4 pounds $1.67

Kroger cheese, 1 pound 2/$7

Capri Sun 98 cents each wyb 5


gala apples 99 cents/pound (Friday-Monday)

Prego Pasta Sauce $1.49 each wyb 6

Coke 2 L 88 cents wyb 6

Essential Everyday Pasta 79 cents wyb 6

What are your best deals for the week?

Funny Muffin Friday: Muffin’s Push to Make Us Go to the New Sam’s Club

Funny Muffin Friday

Note:  I realize that it’s been a while since I last wrote.  This new school year is kicking my tush!

But…Muffin keeps it all in perspective.  Recently, our Sam’s Club opened.  I should note that we did not go to Sam’s on the day it opened (Boo!), or the day after…or the day after that.  It opened on a Thursday.  We went there on Sunday.  And, by we, I mean my parents, Muffin, and me.  Josh was on call and had to work that week.

Our goal was to arrive at 9 and go on in.  One small problem:  Sam’s didn’t open until 10.  So, we went back to my parents’ house (and left my car in the Sam’s parking lot).  At 9:50, Muffin told us that we needed to “skoo-dee-daddle” to go to Sam’s.  (He really wanted his slice of pizza.)  I think it’s my mom who has told him a few times to “skeedaddle.”  But Muffin had to put his own special spin on it.

Note:  Muffin really likes Sam’s.

And the pizza.

And…there was a man there who was making watermelon rind sculptures.  Muffin received a dinosaur.

And he loved it.

Unfortunately (for us and anyone within range of Muffin’s voice) the watermelon carver has not been back since.  We’ve been back to Sam’s a few times, and Muffin has to check…each…and…every…time.

Cent Saving Saturday will be back tomorrow with a reminder that Sam’s has probably the cheapest (although not healthiest) fast food meal on the fly.

Thoughtful Thursday: Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thoughtful Thursday

To my fellow adventurer throughout our home state (and probably the only person who understands my obsession love of Highway 1, from Rodessa to Grand Isle) and the only other person that I know who has been to all 64 parishes in five months (and helped me to take pictures of signs, cypress trees, shrimp boats, bayous, and pelicans…and more signs)…the only other person who understands why those pictures of signs were necessary…

Happy Birthday, Mom!  You are my source of laughter, inspiration, shared jokes, and love.  Love you lots (and Muffin loves his granny lots, too)!  And just remember, a la linguistics, you are not a “Moe-RON!”

So…when are we traveling down Highway 1 again?  Muffin is old enough now…  🙂

And, yes…I realize that your birthday is tomorrow…but I wanted this post to be there when you woke up  (or when the puppies wake you up at midnight…and one…and two…)

Love you, Mom!